The Walk of Shame: Carrying a Crunchy Cheesy Crust pizza, a Stuffed Crust with pepperoni, and a Super Supreme Pan Pizza back to the office for taste-testing.
Thought I'd share with you my experience trying to get three specialty pizzas from Pizza Hut yesterday for the chain pizza taste-off we did. Of the three major nationwide chains, Pizza Hut was the most difficult. It has almost no presence in New York City. And why should it? If you ran the place and knew there were vastly superior pizzas on almost every block of the Big Apple, why would you waste your resources trying to break into that market?
Still, there must be demand for chain pizza here, since there are numerous Domino's here and an influx of Papa John's. (Those two places, by the way, were easy to order from; I did so online.)
Anyway, back to the Hut. Despite the dearth of Pizza Huts in Manhattan, there are three within easy walking distance of the office here. Two in Penn Station alone and one on 34th between Sixth and Seventh.
I didn't even bother with the mini Pizza Hut in the food court near Amtrak. It had a limited menu when I checked it out three days ago. Instead, my colleague Raphael and I tried the mini Hut near the LIRR waiting area.
Despite displaying several specialty pizzas and medium and large size options on its menu, this mini Hut only offered premade Personal Pan pizzas and the new Pizza Mia. And the employees there seemed confused by our desire to order anything but those options.
This led Raphael to ask, What's up with the Hut? As a brand, that's just sloppy, he pointed out. The Hut needs to get a better hold on brand control here. Posting a large photo-menu displaying items that aren't available is bad. It's no wonder Pizza Hut's presence here is almost nil.
So we headed to the 34th Street Pizza Hut, which shares space with a Dunkin' Donuts. At least we could see upon walking in that there were medium and large pizza boxes stacked up, a sign that we'd be able to get more than mini pies.
But, OMG. Placing the order was a nightmare. Honestly, I doubt that Pizza Huts in Manhattan do much medium- and large-pie business, but the employees were clearly befuddled here by our order of a Crunchy Cheesy Crust pizza with sausage, a Stuffed Crust with pepperoni, and a Super Supreme Pan Pizza.
I know that a Hut in the 'burbs would be all over that line-up and wouldn't blink an eye at it, but it took five minutes of explaining just to put the order in. And that was before the cashier had to call the cook up front, point to the Crunchy Cheesy Crust sign and tell him that we wanted one. I have my doubts that he had even made one before.
I don't know what Pizza Hut's New York strategy is, but it's clearly flawed. It should just give up.
Anyway. Walk of shame.
No self-respecting New Yorker would order a Pizza Hut when even a lame New York slice is ten times better. So to have to carry three boxes of this stuff through the streets of Midtown in front of my fellow Gothamites--sheesh! Talk about embarrassing, especially as the editor of Slice.
Yeah. I'm exaggerating above. It's not like it was a big deal. And it's what needs to be done in the name of research for the site.
OK. Rant over.